Item 1516 - Address by Former President Nelson Mandela on the Pulse of the Nation

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ZA COM MR-S-1516


Address by Former President Nelson Mandela on the Pulse of the Nation


  • 2002-05-14 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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Thank you for that kind introduction. It is a pleasure to join you at your convention today.
As Southern Africans, we have unparalled opportunities to leave our mark on the momentous times in which we are living. Each of us has an important role to play in making sure that South Africa and indeed the whole African continent fulfils its potential in this era. That will take leadership - not just political leadership, but leadership in its broader, more far reaching and more empowering embodiment. All of us - as individuals, as the highly successful company that SAB is, as South or Southern Africans or just as Africans - all of us has a role to play in building o or nations, our continent and a future for our communities and families.

So this morning, I want to encourage you to recognise and give value to your strengths as individuals and to the strengths of South Africa as a country. am afraid that sometimes we are too quick to identify failure, too willing to criticise, too prepared to accept perceived defeat. Yet South Africa has so much that it should be proud of. Each of you should be proud to be here today

§ proud to be part of a company that provides job opportunities, skills, technical expertise and generates resources throughout South Africa, in eleven other African countries, as Well as in Asia, Central America and Europe,

§ proud to be part of a South. Africa that can point to achievements that have set standards for both the African continent and the world as a whole

§ proud to be part 'if a continent that despite its problems continues to contribute the sum of the v ores knowledge and expertise

South Africa is a country of great contrasts stark and often disturbing contrasts,

the midst of great wealth, we see some of the worst examples of poverty in the world. In the country where sophisticated heart transplant techniques were perfected, children are still dying from easily preventable diseases. In a country with a rich tradition of social mobilisation, we see some. of the. worst examples of sophisticated crime. Yet these problems must be put into perspective.

Let us not forget that it is only 8 years since South Africa's first democratic elections. It is true that there is much work still to be done to bring true equity, social justice and thus stability to the nation. It is true that change sometimes seems slow. Yet eight years is a very short time. How many decades, indeed centuries, has it taken European and American democracies to Stabilise their governments, their economies and their societies? FIN/ many former liberation movements that have become governments - in other parts of Africa, in Eastern Europe, in South America - can match the South African government's attempts to redress injustice and stimulate economic growth?

In the short time since the birth of its democracy, South Africa has made advances that have put the country in the vanguard of the international community. Despite limited resources, South Africa has been able to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of other countries and produce a constitution that is often cited as the strongest, most just, most visionary in the world. With the exception of some of the Nordic countries, South Africa has the best representation of women in government and politics, as well as strong representation in senior positions in academic institutions and the private sector, surpassing the vast majority of European and American nations. The youngest of African democracies has been a leader in offering a new vision of Africa to the continent - a vision that remobilises the continent and repositions Africa in the political, economic and social world. And South Africa has been a leader on the widest of international stages. The battle with the pharmaceutical companies to put the lives of people before excessive profits was not fought in Europe or the US - it was the South African people and the South African government that mobilised their might and won the struggle on the pricing of antiretroviral drugs.

What is it that makes it so hard for some people to value the many achievements of this country? Despite the shame of the apartheid years, the people of South Africa mobilised and turned oppression into a triumph of the spirit. The peaceful reconciliation of South Africa's struggle, the calm transition to a democratic government - these are some of the events that the whole of humankind referred to with pride at the end of the 20th century. It is not a coincidence that a country that had been troubled for so long had four Nobel laureates in the same century.

That Is the legacy that you should take forward with pride. Those are the landmarks which should be your catalyst to carry on and to strengthen the achievements of this fledgling democracy. South Africa has begun to use its distinctiveness, its positive traditions and its amazing human resources to envision and forge a new and brighter path for the country, the region and the continent. I look forward to travelling that road with all of you.

Thank you.

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